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The Shakespeare Secret: Number 1 in series (Kate Stanley) Paperback – 10 Jan 2008

125 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; Reprint edition (10 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751540358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751540352
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 3.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Plot twists worthy of The Da Vinci Code dominate this agile first novel from Carrell...this spirited and action-packed novel delivers constant excitement. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

"a gripping page-turner, an erudite account of contemporary Bard scholarship and the plays and poems that made Mr Shakespeare, whoever he was, the man he is today. Perfect" Daily Express ("a hide-and-seek chase of murder and mayhem...Carrell omits [Dan Brown's] ridiculous howlers but follows his penchant for twists, turns and incessant violence" The Times)

"It's the Da Vinci Code on steroids and would be banned if it were an athlete... An intelligent, thought-provoking, highly readable and extremely fast-paced whodunit spanning four centuries" Daily Sport ("her extensive research is both accurate and impressive" RTE Guide)

Book Description

An action-packed adventure that hurtles from modern-day London, Boston and Arizona to the dark secrets of Shakespeare's past.

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Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By AnaBea on 14 May 2008
Format: Paperback
I can't add any more than has already been said . . . but I have to get it off my chest!!! I'm just so relieved that I'm not alone in my utter bafflement in this book! I have pretty disparate reading habits and have enjoyed the good, bad and plain ugly. However I've never encountered a book like this - as if someone threw a (large) handful of corny plot devices, boring diversions, colourless characters and Shakespeare plays into the air and published the resulting mess just as it landed. If you don't want to lose money, time and your patience, steer clear.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
Entertaining and fun, this is a perfect beach or commute read. Combining elements of the (still popular) Da Vinci Code, with a chase for the missing manuscript of a lost Shakespeare play as well as pursuing the eternal mystery of who Shakespeare actually was, this keeps the pages turning.

Kate Stanley is a Harvard graduate directing Hamlet at the Globe when her ex-doctoral supervisor appears and kick-starts the mystery-chase before being killed like Hamlet's father. Kate drops everything to pursue the clues which take her to the Harvard library, the Folger Shakespeare library, New Mexico, and back to London followed by a maniac killer with a Shakespearean bent as well as an attractive but enigmatic protector. Everyone she talks to gets murdered in a Shakespearean manner which is completely ludicrous but good fun, and the couple manage to outwit both Scotland Yard and the FBI...

Carrell knows her Shakespeare and has created an entertaining story that takes in conspiracy theories of authorship, and has amusing swipes at the cut-throat world of academia. As a Renaissance literature student (though not a Shakespearean) I loved all the literary play, but am not sure how penetrable it would be to someone not particularly familiar with people like Mary Sidney, Francis Bacon, the earl of Oxford etc. And I suspect that the `mystery' side of the plot is so far-fetched that most of the pleasure comes from the untangling of linguistic clues.

So while I found this an enjoyable - if throwaway - read, it does require you to turn off your brain-cells as far as the murder-chase is concerned. The identities of the `baddies' is so badly derivative that I kept thinking it couldn't be true but sadly it was. Also the (lack of) motivation for all these theatrical murders is ludicrous. So overall I think this is a 3.5* read which has some indulgent pleasures and a lot of silliness - but I still had fun reading it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cazzandra on 17 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this at the same time as The Medici Secret to cover the long return journey I undertook recently. I do this journey twice a year and read 2 thrillers for each one so you're not looking at an expert in thrillers!

The book is well written and has been been well researched though there are some disconcerting errors along the way and I don't mean tampering with historical truths, I mean mistakes - for example Pharaoh's daughter is credited with hiding Moses rather than retrieving him. However, it does mostly fit in with historical fact and Carrell does explain where she has departed from historical veracity so is rather pleasing from that point of view. I found the time shifts a little irritating and I'm not sure how necessary they really are finally since the protagonists in the present capture all of the details from the past but it might be that Carrell was concerned about having to fill in a lot of detail and thought flash backs the best way to do it.

It is convoluted. I was pretty certain I'd figured out the plot and then got a nasty shock but I pretty much ended up where I'd started which reinforces my idea that where murderers are concerned go with your initial impression! There are a lot of deaths, the characters are sometimes incredibly stupid and don't take enough care when investigating things and everyone they meet seems to be able to pull the most amazing strings. They do catch a lot of planes, they have inexhaustible supplies of money and the plot from that point of view is implausible but having said that some of the characters were quite personable and the story rattles along at a good pace even if it does seem to throw up an awful lot of red herrings and twists and turns.

I enjoyed the book. I wouldn't cry if Carrell never writes another book but I found this one entertaining and it stopped me from being bored on what is a very long and tedious journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PNJ O'Brien VINE VOICE on 18 Nov. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
As Shakespeare said in Hamlet, 'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so'.

Well, I think this is a stinker.

As others have pointed out, there is more than a whiff of Dan Brown about this. Take this for starters:
'Rosalind Howard, flamboyantly eccentric Harvard Professor of Shakespeare...' is not a million miles removed from Brown's way of introducing Langdon in each book.

At least Brown's work motors along and creates a relatively exciting story. It may be a bit of a ramshackle vehicle, but it gets you from invented A to spurious B in an enjoyable fashion. Carrell's novel is more like a bad driver trying to execute a three-point turn. Forward a bit, then back, then off in another direction, then back...

I opened the pages looking forward to a 'find-the-McGuffin' feast. An early death - tick - a clue - tick. All went well soon after the curtain went up.

But what's this? They're looking for clues, yet Shakespearean scholars don't realise that a quote reads 'glitters' when Shakespeare wrote 'glisters'? What's going on here?

From then on, the book was full of flaws. Try this one. Late on in the book, faced with a cave opening, Kate says 'I'd never seen a cave opening before'. On the page opposite, she states that she has some experience of caving. Sorry. Kate? Were you blindfolded when you went caving?

I'm also not sure that the chronology adds up. Roz is descibed as being in her 50s, but if my maths is right, she must be closer to 70, at least.

If you haven't read it, don't bother. Here's all you need to know. The person who must be the killer isn't - or are they - or, no they're not because it's two other people - oh, no, it's yet two more people.
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